Daan Laméris

Research themes

  • Primatology
  •  Emotions
  • Comparative animal psychology


I am currently working as doctoral student at the Centre for Research and Conservation (CRC) at Antwerp ZOO and Planckendael ZOO and the Behavioural Ecology and Ecophysiology research group at the University of Antwerp (UA). For my doctoral project I am researching how emotions affect the everyday life of bonobos, particularly observing their behaviour, physiology and cognition.

Research interests

Emotions play an important part in the everyday lives of both humans and animals. In my research I am particularly interested in positive emotions. While the function of negative emotions has been examined fairly extensively, much research has yet to be done regarding positive emotions, especially in such a rare and endangered species as the bonobo. As we cannot verbally ask bonobos how they are feeling, I seek to determine this by studying their behaviour, by monitoring the hormonal changes in their hair, urine and saliva, and by analysing their cognition (attention, memory and decision making).

Brief biography

I have always been fascinated by animals. During secondary school, I worked as an animal caretaker at Apenheul (NL) and I spent six months as a volunteer in Indonesia working with orphaned orang-utans and other local fauna. I obtained a Master's degree in Behavioural Ecology at Utrecht University (NL), and during my internship carried out research for the Projet Grands Singes (PGS), a research project run by Antwerp ZOO and Planckendael ZOO in Cameroon into the effect of conservation activities. For my second internship, via Leiden University (NL), I carried out a touch-screen study with orang-utans to examine which emotions attract their attention. Before graduating, I worked as a research assistant via Leiden University conducting a field study into the behaviour of chimpanzees in Rwanda.

Key publications

Laméris, D. W., Tagg, N., Kuenbou, J. K., Sterck, E. H. M., & Willie, J. (2020). Drivers affecting mammal community structure and functional diversity under varied conservation efforts in a tropical rainforest in Cameroon. Animal Conservation, 23(2), 182–191. https://doi.org/10.1111/acv.12526

Laméris, Daan W., Staes, N., Salas, M., Matthyssen, S., Verspeek, J., & Stevens, J. M. G. (2021). The influence of sex, rearing history, and personality on abnormal behaviour in zoo-housed bonobos (Pan paniscus). Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 234, 105178. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2020.105178

Laméris, Daan W., Verspeek, J., Depoortere, A., Plessers, L., & Salas, M. (2021). Effects of Enclosure and Environmental Enrichment on the Behaviour of Ring-Tailed Lemurs (Lemur catta). Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens, 2(2), 164–173. https://doi.org/10.3390/jzbg2020012

Laméris, Daan W., Verspeek, J., Eens, M., & Stevens, J. M. G. (2022). Social and nonsocial stimuli alter the performance of bonobos during a pictorial emotional Stroop task. American Journal of Primatology, 84(2), e23356. https://doi.org/10.1002/AJP.23356

Laméris, Daan W, Verspeek, J., Salas, M., Staes, N., Torfs, J. R. R., Eens, M., & Stevens, J. M. G. (2022). Evaluating Self-Directed Behaviours and Their Association with Emotional Arousal across Two Cognitive Tasks in Bonobos (Pan paniscus). Animals, 12, 3002.

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